In Arlington, Washington, Tamon Leverette made news after “he was stopped and frisked” by police on Feb. 22.
Why was he stopped? “[F]or no reason” other than “‘being black,’” Leverette said.
As it turns out, there was a bit more to it than that. Police told KTTH-AM in Seattle, that a caller identifying themselves as Stacy Williams reported a young man with a gun around a middle school, wearing a tan hoodie and gang regalia. He was “too young to even have a pistol. He only looks 16, 17 years old,” the caller said.
The police didn’t find a gun on him. They did, however, find out who they think called 911 on Tamon Leverette: Tamon Leverette.
In an interview with KTTH’s Jason Rantz this week, Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura said Leverette was allegedly trying to “goad” police into a George Floyd-style situation.
“This event tied up police resources for an extended period of time and unnecessarily placed our officers, our community, and the subject making the false call at risk,” Ventura told Rantz.
“This call highlights the training and professionalism of our officers despite the apparent attempt to goad law enforcement into some type of negative response or altercation.”
“These type of calls only serve to create division at a time when we need unity,” he added.
According to Ventura, the 911 caller said they were “at the bus stop, and there’s a colored young man, and I can see a pistol right there.”
When officers arrived at the scene, they found Leverette but concluded, after a search, that he wasn’t carrying a weapon.
“Tamon pulled up his left pant leg, showing me a Department of Corrections (DOC) GPS tracking ankle band,” the incident report reads. “He informed me that he was not doing anything wrong, just waiting for the bus to come so he could go to his [Department of Corrections] check in with his assigned DOC Officer.”
When the police officer said he “wanted to understand why someone would call in with concerns that he was handling a firearm at the bus stop as described,” Leverette said he wasn’t sure but thanked the officers for being professional. The next day, however, he told his DOC officer that “he was stopped and frisked by ‘Everett Police’ for no reason the previous day because of ‘being black.’”
Police followed up and attempted to call Stacy Williams back.
According to the officer, “I noted that the voice mail was set up by a mail with a voice that seemed very similar to that of Tamon. I asked Dispatch if this phone number had been previously used for any calls to 911 Dispatch. The Dispatcher notified me shortly after that the phone number had called 911 on five separate occasions in December of 2020 for ‘Civil’ calls at an address of 520 Commercial Ave, Darrington WA. Dispatch advised me that the only name used to call into 911 on those incidents was ‘Tamon L.’”
They consulted with Leverette’s DOC supervisor and found out the number that called 911 matched Leverette’s. He’s since been arrested, although no charges have been filed. He could face false reporting charges, however.
This could have turned out much worse, mind you, if Leverette is behind this. His DOC supervisor says Leverette “has mentioned that he could see himself in a similar situation as ‘George Floyd.’”
“To have this type of situation come up at a time where we’re working so hard to bridge that gap and to be more transparent and open with our communities, and to build a stronger relationship with our communities,” Ventura said, “this really works against us in making that happen at a time where we’re being told that we need to be working harder than ever. It’s just so anti-productive and it really, unfortunately, ties up our resources.”
Asked if this was a mental health issue, Ventura didn’t speculate.
“I don’t have anything for that suspicion except in speaking with the investigating officer as he was talking to the Community Corrections officer that is supervising the subject,” Ventura said.
“The officer asked the Community Corrections officer, ‘Does this subject have mental health issues?’ And the response wasn’t a definite yes or no, but it was possibly so. We’re not sure.”
As the trial of the officer accused of killing George Floyd begins next week, it’s worth noting this is how almost every other case like this ends.
Police do their jobs. They don’t do it with racial animus, they don’t do it to rough people up and they don’t do it to lord their power over people. They do it to keep law-abiding citizens safe.
When police were told Tamon Leverette was a danger, they responded. They treated him professionally and fairly. The sick, sad irony is that, if these are indeed the facts of the case, that’s not what Tamon Leverette wanted. Instead, he would have preferred a situation that could have sparked race riots — all based on a lie.
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